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NCJ Number: 204324 Find in a Library
Title: Homeland Security: Federal Action Needed to Address Security Challenges at Chemical Facilities
Author(s): John B. Stephenson
Corporate Author: US Government Accountability Office
United States of America
Date Published: February 23, 2004
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20013
US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548
Publication Number: GAO-04-482T
Sale Source: US Government Accountability Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Presentation
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses the security challenges at chemical facilities in the United States and the actions needed to protect these facilities.
Abstract: Many chemical facilities exist in populated areas where a chemical release could threaten thousands. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 123 chemical plants located throughout the country could each potentially expose more than a million people if a chemical release occurred. No Federal laws explicitly require that chemical facilities assess vulnerabilities or take security actions to safeguard their facilities from attack. A number of Federal laws impose safety requirements on facilities that may help mitigate the effects of a terrorist-caused chemical release. No Federal oversight or third-party verification ensures that voluntary industry assessments of vulnerability are adequate and that security vulnerabilities are addressed. The Federal Government has not comprehensively assessed the chemical industry’s vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks. The EPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Justice have taken preliminary steps to assist the industry in its preparedness efforts, but no agency monitors or documents the extent to which chemical facilities have implemented security measures. Federal, State, and local entities lack comprehensive information on the vulnerabilities facing the industry. The chemical manufacturing industry has undertaken a number of voluntary initiatives to address security at facilities. The industry faces a number of challenges in preparing facilities against attacks, including ensuring that all chemical facilities address security concerns. Despite the industry’s voluntary efforts, the extent of security preparedness at United States chemical facilities is unknown. Voluntary efforts alone are not sufficient to assure the public of the industry’s preparedness. Legislation is now pending that would mandate chemical facilities to take security steps to protect against the risk of a terrorist attack. 10 footnotes, appendix
Main Term(s): Chemical irritants; Emergency procedures
Index Term(s): Contingency planning; Less lethal technologies; Subversive activities; Terrorist tactics; Terrorist weapons; Weapons
Note: Testimony before the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives; downloaded February 24, 2004.
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